Wednesday, July 19, 2017

15 Ways to Be a Foster Care Friendly Church


Foster kids need the church. Foster families need the church.

Here are 15 ways to be a foster care friendly church–


  1. Educate, educate, educate. Host informational meetings for would-be foster parents, but also for members of the church family who simply want to learn more about foster care.
  2. Add foster care discussion to existing (paid/volunteer) staff training. Many children who come from hard places have unique challenges and behaviors that require extra love and patience from those in authority.
  3. Host foster care licensing opportunities on campus. Open these classes to church families and members of the community. Not only is this decision helpful to the local foster care agency, but it sends a clear signal to foster families that your church will support their efforts to foster.


  1. Organize meal trains for new placements. If your church family provides meals to new moms, be sure to include foster parents in this ministry. Though foster parents haven’t given birth with each placement, their hands are full and their hearts and minds are exhausted.
  2. Provide help with with errands. Heading to the store? Call and see if you can pick anything up for a foster family in your church. Not having to load kids in the car to make an extra trip could be a huge blessing.
  3. Maintain a supply closet (or room!) Maintain space in the church where church members can donate beds, clothes, cribs, diapers, furniture, and other items that could be used by foster families. Assign a church member or small group the task of collecting and sorting donations to ensure the items are good quality and easily accessible.


  1. Make consistent, encouraging contact. Quick calls or texts go a long way in encouraging families who are doing the daily work of loving and caring for the fatherless. Especially on important days (such as court cases or parental visits), let the family know you care and are praying for them.
  2. Invite families to participate in dedicatory prayers. Pray for families who are starting the foster care process. Publicly commit to support them as a church body.  
  3. Put foster families on the church prayer sheet. As we remember to pray for families in the church who are facing deep personal trials or challenges, let’s not neglect to pray for families caring for kids in need.


  1. Offer childcare. Check with local foster families to see what the current requirements are for babysitting children in foster care. If certification is necessary (or helpful), encourage families to pursue it by hosting a certification class at the church.
  2. Help with seasonal tasks. Offer to help with yard cleanup, gutter work, snow removal, etc., This can be a huge value to busy families.
  3. Support local foster care agencies and workers. Build relationships with key foster care leaders in the area. Ask them how you can help. Invite them to a special dinner or service. Send notes of encouragement. Do a donation drive to collect supplies they need.


  1. Include all children in regular church activities. Be careful not to distinguish children who are adopted or being fostered from children in biological families. This can be terribly hurtful to children and parents. Invite all children to all church events, even if that means tailoring activities to the needs of specific kids.
  2. Listen. Foster families will typically answer your questions honestly if you ask them how they feel and what they need and how you can best minister to their kids.
  3. Tell foster children and families that they are welcome, cherished, and needed in the church family. (And then tell them again!) 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

State Trends in Child Well-Being

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book urges policymakers not to back away from targeted investments that help U.S. children become healthier, more likely to complete high school and better positioned to contribute to the nation’s economy as adults. The Data Book also shows the child poverty rate in 2015 continued to drop, landing at 21%. In addition, children experienced gains in reading proficiency and a significant increase in the number of kids with health insurance. However, the data indicate that unacceptable levels of children living in poverty and in high-poverty neighborhoods persist.  Get all the state-by-state data HERE.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4 Kids, 3 Churches, 2 Chronic Illnesses

A single divorced mom of 4 was in crisis. Due to 2 chronic illnesses, she was in desperate need of more intensive medical treatment before she became any sicker. 

Several times a year, she would end up in the ER and friends would help care for her kids. Her doctors recommended that she undergo an experimental treatment. But she kept putting it off due to the unknown time treatment period of 2 - 6 months. She knew her friends wouldn't be able to help care for her children for that extended period of time and unfortunately, she couldn't rely on the children's father due to turmoil between them.

And that's where the Safe Families community stepped in!

Through the combined help of 3 churches, she was able to receive help with meals, transportation and her children were hosted and cared for. Mom was able to get the treatment she needed and became healthy enough to come back home to her kids. And their father even got involved and took the kids every weekend.
The host family developed such a great relationship with both parents that everyone attended the host family's daughter's birthday party!
With continued support, mom was able to attend and complete beauty school. And during that time she met a wonderful Christian man whom she married a year later. This is all because she received biblical hospitality from 'strangers' and had a safe place for all her kids to go so she could heal.

This is just one story that illustrates what biblical hospitality looks like. It's stories like these that exemplify why we do what we do. Be encouraged that your work is not in vain. 

Families are restored, children are loved and hearts are transformed!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Re-fresh Conference for Adoptive, Foster & Safe Families Parents!

Registration is now OPEN for Refresh Chicago
October 6-7, 2017 | Community Christian Church, Naperville, IL

Refresh is not your typical conference!
Refresh is a Christian conference designed for foster and adoptive parents, kinship providers, grandparents, and others who care for God’s orphaned and vulnerable children.

We understand firsthand that this journey can be difficult and lonely. The Refresh Conference is a time for you to escape from the distractions and chaos of life and be refreshed, equipped, and inspired.

Refresh Chicago Pre-Conference Deep Dives
October 5, 2017 | Yellowbox Church, Naperville IL
Pre-conference #1 - Trust-Based Relational Intervention | 10am - 5pm (lunch included)
Pre-conference #2 - Becoming a Serving Spouse | 5:30pm - 8pm (dinner included)
Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®)

Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) is a holistic approach that is multi-disciplinary, flexible, attachment-centered, and challenging. It is an evidence-based, trauma-informed intervention that is specifically designed for children who come from hard places, such as maltreatment, abuse, neglect, multiple home placements, and violence, but you’ll see that the principles apply to all children. TBRI® consists of three sets of harmonious principles: Connecting, Empowering, and Correcting Principles. TBRI® principles have been used in homes, schools, residential facilities, orphanages, and several other settings. 
Becoming a Serving Spouse

Becoming A Serving Spouse will help couples re-prioritize their marriage by discovering 4 valuable keys to create a healthy and successful marriage.

Join us October 5 from 5:30pm - 8pm.
Dinner included.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Interested in learning more about foster care?

Foster Care Information Meeting

Have you ever thought about becoming a foster parent? Join us for an informational meeting where you can come to find answers to your questions!

Many foster parents have said that is was in prayer that they became inspired to open their home to a child in need. Children who have experienced trauma, abuse, neglect, or abandonment need a safe place to heal, to learn, and to grow.  Is God calling you?

Monday, June 26th, 7:00-8:00pm
Willow Creek Community Church
Room B109 (enter by the chapel)
67 E. Algonquin Road, So. Barrington

You will hear from Dr. Cheryl  Stenzel, Director of Allendale’s Foster Care Program.  Come and ask questions!

For questions and to register, contact Dr. Cheryl Stenzel at or call 847-245-6377 

*Please note: Child care is not available for this event.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Young Adult Adoptee Group!

Upcoming Group - June 6th
Young Adult Adoptee Group
This event is for older teens and adults (15 years old or older) who would like to discuss adoption-related topics in a safe and open environment. Parents can also attend a separate group simultaneously, led by a licensed therapist (no fee for parents, but please RSVP). Discussions will range in topics from:
    • peer relationships, 
    • launching out of their parents home, 
    • college/career, 
    • and other adoption related issues.
Facilitated by Pam Shepard, LCSW and an adult-adoptee.  
June 6, 2017
Tuesday, 6:30pm to 8:00pm


Holt-Sunny Ridge Children's Services
270 Remington Blvd 
Suite D 
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

Holt-Sunny Ridge | 630-754-4500 |